22 November 2005

One of the longest-serving Family Court judges, the Honourable Justice Roderick Joske, retires this week after almost 30 years on the bench.

Justice Joske's gracious style was lauded by current and past judges and senior lawyers at a ceremonial sitting to farewell him at the Melbourne Family Law Courts last Friday presided over by the Family Court's Chief Justice, Diana Bryant.

The Hon. Kevin Andrews, representing the Commonwealth Attorney-General Phillip Ruddock, said the Government appreciated Justice Joske's dedicated contributions to the work of the Family Court and to the development of family law in Australia.

He said Justice Joske was known for his professionalism, impartiality and dedication and had shown himself as a man of courtesy and compassion.

Noel Ackman QC, chairman of the Family Law Bar Association said Justice Joske had served with distinction.

"He was compassionate, fair, thorough and scrupulously and unfailingly courteous, often in demanding circumstances," Mr Ackman said.

President of the Law Institute of Victoria, Victoria Strong said the Judge had an unfailing sense of duty, innate sense of fairness and capacity for hard work.

Justice Joske was educated at Wesley College and the University of Melbourne and admitted to practice in 1955.  While practising as a barrister for 20 years, he did a lot of family law, and represented the Victorian Bar Council on the Legal Aid Committee, the Joint Bar Law Institute and Family Law Committee. He was on the Bar's Juries Subcommittee and Chairman of its Matrimonial Causes Sub-Committee.

He was appointed to the newly formed Family Court in June 1976 and to the Court of Appeal for two years in 1985.  He was also a member of the Australian Association of Family Lawyers and Conciliators from 1998 to 2004.

Justice Joske said he was proud to have had the great honour to join the Family Court in its early days.

"It was a court designed to help people. I am proud of the court and proud of the part that I have played in its history," he said.